The Naked Truth About College Grads

Graduate college, they said, It’ll be fun, they said.

They also said that you’d walk across that stage and opportunities would start knocking and kicking and scratching at your door. That you’d smile for that cheesy handshake photograph and hold your fake certificate (Sarcastic)  and all of a sudden you’d feel like (and simultaneously become) a full-fledged, accomplished, educated, real-life, ducks-in-a-row adult.
But anyone who’s graduated college in the last decade knows that’s not the reality. You don’t shrug on your cap and gown and suddenly feel responsible, suddenly know how to file taxes and pay off loan debt. You don’t finish your last final and suddenly realize what you’re doing with your life. You don’t even know what you’re doing for the next six months.
Here’s the harsh reality about being a college grad right now: you’re caught in limbo.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ve accepted a job and you’re set for the temporary now. You have some sort of plan, but without job security, without tenure, and with a highly competitive market, you’ve been trained to not trust in the permanence of anything. Cynical? Maybe. Truth? Definitely.
Here’s the harsh reality about being a college grad right now: you’re caught in limbo. Suddenly, you are too old for college parties. That doesn’t mean you can’t attend them (by all means, do you boo boo) but suddenly your mindset has changed. You need to job hunt, you need to wake up early for the crappy part-time gig you’ve taken in the months between graduation and getting a ‘real career,’ and you have things to do that doesn’t include getting wasted on a Monday night. But you want to go to college parties. 
Your friends are either still in school or have graduated, left town (or not), started their lives (or are pretending to start their lives) and you’re desperate for someone to pregame with,  go out with. So you cyber-stalk all their social media , wondering who they’re hanging out with, who’s all at that party, and if they’re missing you.
But then there’s that part of you that scoffs. You’ve matured, you’ve changed, and you’ve left that college scene. You had your fun. Obligations, priorities, mature fun, and things that you could never afford or even dream up when you were that broken, tragic college seniors.
But still, you’re caught in limbo. There’s a laundry list of expectations that you’re supposed to live up to. You’re supposed to get that job, move, work, make money, be successful, date, marry, have children. Or something along those lines. And you’re nowhere near. (Which is okay, by the way. As long as you’re trying to get yourself together.)
Then there’s the realization that this is it, this is life. And you’re excited about the possibilities, the places you could go, the jobs you could take, and the potential significant others that are gallivanting around somewhere on this planet, wondering about the potential you. The future is limitless. But terrifying.
You’re caught between the familiar and the new, the comfortable and the unknown. There’s the person you’ve been for the last four years, and then there’s this new you—this post-grad you, this adult you—Are you the same person? Suddenly changed? A mix of both?
The post-grad world is strange. You’re not sure who you’re expected to be, and not really sure who you want to be. You’re trying your best to figure it out, to get that dream job, to find a place and a home and a future to claim as your own. But the naked truth about graduating college is that it’s not this paved, golden road. Yes, your education is valuable. And yes, you have a world of possibilities at your fingertips. But that doesn’t make it easier.
Graduating college, just like being in college, is another journey. And with any journey, you need faith, perseverance, hard work, a map, and your heart for when you throw your map out the window.
You’ll make it eventually. It just takes time. And a period of crappy, rough, who-am-I months. But at least you’re leaving on first food anymore, right? 

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A Prayer For The Days You Feel Broken Beyond Repair

Dear God,

I come to you with every part of myself shattered. I come to you with the person I used to be so far gone, I can hardly remember him. I come to you with honestly, nothing.

Because I not only have lost my way, but I’ve lost myself.

Today I looked in the mirror and I didn’t recognize the reflection. There is an ache that I can see in my face, in the lines around what used to be my smile, in the hollowness of my eyes.

Father, I’m sad. I’ve been betrayed. I’ve been hurt. I’ve been hard on myself. I used to be so strong. I used to be so happy. Life used to bring me down, but never this far. I always had the strength to rise again.

But now, I don’t know what happened.

Maybe I’ve strayed too far from your light. Maybe I let people pull me away from your mercy. Maybe I’ve trusted my own feet to guide me, when I should have been following your footsteps all along.

Maybe I’ve been trying to do this all alone, when what I really need to do is let go and give this pain to you.

See, God, I’ve been aching for too long now. My heart feels broken. My eyes feel heavy. My legs are like dead weight, dragging behind me with every step. I’ve started to see the world differently. I don’t open my eyes and smile into the sunshine. I don’t laugh easily at the silly jokes of life. I don’t look at strangers, or listen to the birds, or pet puppies when they pass by me on the street.

I’ve just been ho-humming through my days. I’ve just been wishing every second away. I’ve just been dreading, and plugging, and existing. I haven’t been living. And I want this to change.

Lord, I need you. I need your grace. I need your forgiveness. I need your love to lift this heavy weight from my shoulders and help me begin again.

For too long I’ve been carrying this burden. For too long I’ve been letting my heartache determine my fate. For too long I’ve been looking in this mirror and only seeing the cracks, the brokenness, the faults, the flaws.

And I need to see you again.

Lord, I ask that you come back into my life, that you flood me with your holiness and happiness. I ask that you come to me in my brokenness, in my undeserving, sinful nature, and remind me that I am always forgiven, always loved.

Please remind me who I am. Please remind me I am yours.

Please take these shattered pieces of my heart, these tired hands, these crying eyes, this lonely heart and turn my face to you, Lord. Show me how your forgiveness has healed me, and will continue to heal me, every single day. Show me how your mercy will lift me from this place of despair.

Show me that I do not have to live like this anymore.

And brighten my days, bring a smile to my face. Teach me that when I feel irreparably broken, I can always turn to you and you will make me whole again.

Remind me that I am never alone.

And remind me, when I look in the mirror, that I need not look for negativity, for faults, for all the pieces of me that are imperfect. Help me to see happiness again. Help me to see a Son of Christ, beautiful because of His love for me.

Amen.